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Paul Felder backs Justin Gaethje as title contender, understands if Charles Oliveira chooses to fight Conor McGregor

(L) to (R): Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor, Charles Oliveira, Paul Felder
(L) to (R): Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor, Charles Oliveira, Paul Felder

Paul Felder agrees that Justin Gaethje deserves to be next in line for a lightweight title shot but won't blame Charles Oliveira for accepting the more lucrative fight against Conor McGregor.

After defeating Michael Chandler, Gaethje cemented his position as the No.1-ranked contender at 155 lbs. At UFC 269, Dana White also stated that 'The Highlight' will get the next crack at the champion, Oliveira. However, Conor McGregor has thrown a spanner into the works by expressing a desire to go after the championship on his return.

During an interview with Helen Yee Sports, Paul Felder stated that Justin Gaethje should be the next lightweight title challenger followed by the winner of Islam Makhachev vs. Beneil Dariush:

"If I'm going by the numbers, it's Gaethje for sure for me. Then the winner of Islam [Makhachev] and Beneil [Dariush]. That's the next contender. There's no doubt about it in my mind. But Conor's that wrench in everything. Whether we like it or not, the guy draws. If Charles tries to do that, I can't technically blame him. You want that money fight... But that's not what it should be. It should be Gaethje and then the winner of Islam vs Beneil."

Check out Paul Felder's interview with Helen Yee featuring his thoughts on Charles Oliveira below:

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Paul Felder believes Charles Oliveira can rule the 155 lbs division for a long time

Paul Felder handed Charles Oliveira his last defeat when he stopped 'Do Bronx' in the second round at UFC 218. Oliveira has come a long way since then and racked up 10 consecutive victories. Felder touched on the Brazilian star's evolution after their 2017 encounter:

"I think he can [be champion] for a long time. I really do. The way he's evolving, the way he's getting stronger and more confident, that's the key for him. Years ago, even when I beat him, he seemed a bit broken. He didn't know where he wanted to be, whether it was going to be 155 or 145... After I beat him and he went on that absolute tear, he found that confidence, he changed what he needed to. And now I think he's got what it takes to stay on top of that division for a long time."

Armed with a unique skill set, Charles Oliveira is emerging as one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC. He could be set to face a string of dangerous opponents as there is no respite in the 155 lbs division.

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Edited by Saiyed Adeem Karim
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